This week, the Trump administration fulfilled a major campaign promise, announcing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, with a few caveats, including a six-month delay in implementation, giving Congress a chance to replace DACA.
One might imagine that for the president, who has struggled to push his top priorities through over a shambling seven months in office, this would be cause for celebration and horn-tooting. Instead, President Trump seems to be directly at odds with his own administration on many key details of the plan. Thursday morning, Trump tweeted this:
For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States—including proactively seeking travel documentation—or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.
Of course, what those subject to DACA are most worried about is what happens at the end of those six months, not during them. Trump’s reassurance only makes sense to those who share his confidence that Congress will institute some sort of roughly identical replacement for DACA; otherwise, DHS’s suggestion may be prudent. Trump remains one of the few people—perhaps one of the last—who has faith in Congress’s ability to act on this or on anything else.
Even stranger, Trump’s tweet is reportedly the result of a phone conversation he had with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in which she urged him to issue the assurance. It’s surprising to see Trump working hand-in-glove with the Democratic leader, whom he has repeatedly criticized, and all the more surprising because no one else seems to have been able to wrangle Trump’s Twitter habit to their advantage. (Pelosi said during a press conference on Thursday that Trump had assured her he would sign a DACA replacement.) On Wednesday, Trump stunned and infuriated Republican legislators and leaders when he agreed to an offer by Pelosi and her Senate counterpart, Chuck Schumer, to pay for disaster relief and to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling through December. One more incident of Trump-Pelosi coordination will make the alliance of convenience official for as long as they can resist jabbing each other, which will probably not be long.